• Like any other liquid, the water is capable of flowing and splashing, changing its shape under the action of even a small force

  • The density of the heated water becomes smaller, so hot layers rise upwards - this phenomenon is called convection

  • High heat capacity of water helps many living creatures not to freeze in winter

  • Expanding when freezing, water can damage pipes and break out

  • In the mountains, water boils faster

  • At the CHP, thanks to water in the form of steam, not only electricity is received, but also thermal energy for heating and hot water supply systems

  • This solar power station in Spain also functions due to the water heating and steam turbines

  • Dissolving in water, the dye paints quirky pictures. This property is used when painting fabrics in batik technique

  • On a hydrophobic (water repellent) surface, such as a lotus leaf or bird feather, the water takes the form of round drops

  • This is how water looks in zero gravity, at the International Space Station

Water Properties: Ordinary Miracles in Our Lives

Water is the most common and most mysterious substance on our planet. It has simple properties, known since ancient times. Due to these features it is called the basis of life. So what is the wonder of these properties? Let's get it.

Fluidity. The main property of all liquids, including the water. Under the influence of external forces it is able to take the form of any container. And this ensures its universal accessibility. Water flows in water pipes, forms lakes, rivers and seas. And, most importantly, you can always take it with you in any convenient package - from a small bottle to a huge cistern.

Temperature properties. Warm water is lighter than cold water and always rises. Therefore, we can cook soup, heating the pan only from below, and not from all sides at once. Due to this phenomenon, called "convection", most inhabitants of terrestrial water bodies live closer to the surface.

But the most important of the temperature water properties is its high heat capacity - 10 times greater than that of iron. This means that a large amount of energy is needed to heat it, but while the cooling much energy is released as well. Heating systems in our homes and the cooling systems used in industry are based on this tenet.

In addition, oceans play the role of the Earth temperature regulator, softening the seasonal changes in temperature, absorbing heat in summer and giving it in winter. And with the combination of heat capacity and convection you can even heat the entire continent! We are talking about "the main battery of Europe", the warm Gulf Stream. Giant streams of warm water, moving across the surface of the Atlantic, provide on the coast a comfortable temperature, not typical for these latitudes.

Freezing. The freezing point of water is conventionally equal to 0 degrees, but in fact, this parameter depends on several factors: atmospheric pressure, the tank in which the water is placed and the presence of impurities.

Water is unique, unlike other substances, it expands when it is frozen. With our harsh winters, it is, perhaps, can be called a negative property. Freezing and increasing in volume, water (or rather ice) just rips the metal pipes.

So, going to solid state, the water increases in volume, but becomes less dense. Therefore, ice is lighter than water, and is located on its surface. In addition, it conducts heat poorly: even during the coldest winters, life remains in the planet reservoirs. Because the thicker ice "cushion" is, the warmer water is beneath it. Also, due to this property, some people still build the so-called "glaciers" – cellars or caves, surrounded by ice that doesn't melt even in the summer, and allows storing food for a very long time.

Some scientists have even proposed the use of ice in the fight against global warming. The idea is as follows – special vehicle taking in tow an iceberg drifting somewhere near Antarctica. And then drags it into a warm region, where people suffer from the heat. The iceberg melts, providing with a cool the whole coastal region. This is the "Gulfstream Vice versa," only created by man.

Boiling. From the cold ice we'll move on to the hot steam. Everyone knows that the water boils at a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius. But this is only in conditions of normal air composition and atmospheric pressure. But on the top of Everest mount, where the pressure is lower and the air is rarefied, your kettle will boil at 68 degrees! Boiling water kills harmful microorganisms. And the products cooked on steam, are much more useful, than fried.

In addition, water vapor can be called a true engine of civilization. It has not even been a hundred years since the era of steam engines, and many still mistakenly call railway locomotives (now mostly electric) "steam trains".

By the way, about electricity. Without steam, it would still remain a rare and expensive curiosity. After all, the principle of most power plants operation is based on the rotation of the rotor under the pressure of hot steam. Modern nuclear power plants differ from old coal or oil ones only by the principle of heating water. Even innovative and safe solar energy uses steam: huge mirrors, like a magnifying glass, focus the sun's rays on a reservoir of water, turning it into a steam for electric turbines.

Dissolution. Another important property of water, without which it would be impossible not only science and industry, but life itself! What do you think is common between blood plasma and your favorite soda? The answer is simple: soda is an aqueous solution of various salts, minerals and gases. Plasma is composed of 90% water, as well as proteins and other substances. And every cell of a living organism receives the substances it needs, also in the form of an aqueous solution.

Water is the simplest, safest, but, nevertheless, the most reliable natural solvent. Between its mobile molecules can "crawl" almost any substance - from liquids to metals. This wonderful property was noticed at the dawn of humanity. Ancient artists dissolved in water natural dyes to paint on the walls of caves. Then the medieval alchemists accepted the baton, dissolving various substances in the water in the hope of obtaining a "philosopher's stone", which turns any material into gold. And now this property is successfully used by modern chemists.

Surface tension. Most people, hearing about the surface tension of water, remember only insects gliding over the surface of a pond or puddles. And, meanwhile, without this water property it is impossible even to wash your hands! Thanks to it soapy foam forms. Yes, and wipe hands with a towel without it is difficult too. After all, all the absorbent materials (no matter, paper napkin or microfiber cloth) have microscopic pores in which moisture is absorbed due to the surface tension. For the same reason, water rushes through the thinnest capillaries, penetrating the roots of plants. And the preparation of dry building mixtures is also possible due to the surface tension of the added water.

Water molecules are actively attracted to each other, as a result the water surface tends to a minimum for a given volume. That is why the natural form of any liquid is a sphere. This can be easily verified by being in zero gravity. Although, for this experiment, you do not need to fly into space, just enter a little water with a syringe into a glass of oil and watch as it gathers into balls.

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